During Thursday night's NASCAR Awards in Nashville, Chase Elliott was officially announced as the winner of the 2022 National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver Award in the NASCAR Cup Series. Much to the chagrin of Ryan Blaney.
As part of a tongue-in-cheek-campaign to dethrone Elliott's now five-time streak as Most Popular Driver, Blaney released an "attack ad" claiming that he ate chicken wings with a fork and knife. Well, of course the controversial claim got brought up on the red carpet of the NASCAR Awards. At first, Elliott seemed to confirm that Blaney's accusation was true. But, then, a twist! Moments later, when asked the same question on the big stage, he flat-out denied it. So, which is it, Chase?!
— Noah Lewis (@Noah_Lewis1) December 2, 2022
Chase Elliott's wing-eating preferences aside, his Most Popular Driver win was a historic night for the 27-year-old Georgia native. He became becomes just the fifth driver to win the award five or more times in the Cup Series, joining Richard Petty (eight times), Bobby Allison (eight times), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (15 times), and his own father, Bill Elliott (16 times).
"For me, obviously, I came into a very fortunate situation," Elliott said after winning the award. "Dad had a great connection with the fans, and beyond him, I look at the connection as really an extension of his career and my uncles and my grandfather and just kind of the path and the work ethic that they had to be able to get to where they did and to achieve the goals they did."
"And I think a lot of people really connected with them because of their approach and how they went about things and they were a little different than the rest, and I think that was very easily recognizable to the fans. And for me, look, I get it, right? I completely understand that a lot of the folks that supported them and my family over the years have migrated to support me. I'm grateful for it, grateful for the other side of the fence as well, and grateful for the new fans that I feel like I've made along the way, too."
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